7 tips for fighting fake news
- Use fact-checking web sites. Most reputable media already double-check everything that arrives in their inboxes but now freelance journalists and small-scale media can get help from a rapidly-expanding community of online fact-checkers. Sites such as factcheck.org in the United States or the UK’s fullfact.org, for instance.
- Watch out for websites with odd names. Strange domain names or sites that end in “.com.co” for instance are often fake versions of real news sources.
- Check the “About Us” box on the website. Worry if there isn’t one and check the provider with Wikipedia.
- Beware of stories not being reported elsewhere. A shocking, outrageous or surprising event will have another source. If it doesn’t, be suspicious.
- Be wary if there is no attribution for an author or source. That’s sometimes justified, but should be explained and, if not, don’t trust it.
- Check the date. One favourite trick of news fakers is to repackage old stories. They may have been accurate but used out of time and out of context they may become malicious falsehoods.
- Finally, remember that there’s such a thing as satire. Not all fakery is malicious. It can even be entertaining and may come from reputable sources of journalism. Private Eye, Britain’s leading satirical news magazine, for instance, has done some great fact-based investigative journalism alongside occasionally amusing spoof editorial content, but found itself on a list of “fake-news” sites circulated when the misinformation panic set in after the Trump election.